Monday, May 14, 2018

The bike, future of public transportation

Clive Thomson, writing for Wired.

What’s the shiniest, most exciting new technology for transportation? Well, there are plenty of candidates! We’ve got the self-­driving car and drones big enough to carry people. Elon Musk is getting ready to bore hyperloop tunnels. When it comes to moving humans around, the future looks to be merging with sci-fi.

But from where I stand, the most exciting form of transportation technology is more than 100 years old—and it’s probably sitting in your garage. It’s the bicycle. The future of transportation has two thin wheels and handlebars.

It sounds too good to be true. I hope this happens in the Philippines soon, but the environmental, health, and monetary benefits will have to be balanced with the fact that bike riders have to put up with the heat. Would office workers, for example, be willing to come to their jobs drenched in sweat? I would—if there are showers available.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Junk the quo warranto

An argument against the unlimited powers of the Supreme Court, as it should, above all, be fiercely loyal and adherent to the Constitution, begins with a hypothetical issue of adding another ray to the Philippine flag:

If a case were to reach the Court demanding that a ninth ray be added to the flag, and the constitutional provision was not amended and duly ratified, the Court would have to reject the case based on the hallowed tradition honoring the current flag that goes all the way back to 1898. Article XVI, Section 1 itself speaks of “consecration” by the people and “recognition” in law; but the point is, even if the proviso were not included, the Court would still be bound by this tradition. In other words, there are limits beyond which the Supreme Court cannot venture. Like King Canute of legend, who was reported to have commanded the tide of the sea to stop (and failed), the Court cannot hold back the tides of reason and history.

The Inquirer editorial goes further:

The wrong that the Supreme Court is poised to commit today is so clear, and so clearly unjust, that over a hundred law professors, led by deans and former deans of law schools in different parts of the country, published an advertisement calling on the Supreme Court to stop resisting the constitutional tide. “We, members of law faculties, express our deep concern at the move to unseat the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by means other than by impeachment.”

Melba Padilla Maggay's analysis is worth reading.

The quo warranto petition is a brazen violation of the Constitution, which states that the Chief Justice can only be removed through a trial in the Senate acting as an impeachment court. What propels the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction over this case, in effect abandoning its constitutional duty to uphold the law and safeguard the integrity of the Charter as a legal frame for the conduct of our institutions?

What seems clear is that the Supreme Court is in grave danger of being irreversibly damaged, reduced to a choir singing a chorus of assent to the dictates of a potentate who sees an enemy in anyone who would not bend a knee, to be eliminated by weakened state instrumentalities.

If the justices lend credence to the quo warranto, they effectively put into the hands of unprincipled legal technicians an insidious weapon that would cow them into submission. It is a sword that will make their heads roll in the event that any one of them stands up to Calida’s boss.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The more, the merrier

I once said in a grad speech I delivered during med school that misery loves company. In this case, it involves Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which, in a research published, by scientists from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was shown to communicate distress signals to one another in order to evade antibiotics.

The reported behavior was caused by tobramycin, an antibiotic commonly used in clinical settings, and resulted in a dual signal response. As this antibiotic was applied to a colony of P. aeruginosa, the bacteria produced a signal to a localized area of the colony—a Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) that is known to occur—as well as a second, community-wide response, known as the alkyl hydroxyquinoline (AQNO).

The team mapped production of each response spatially, and determined that P. aeruginosa is capable of producing PQS in small pockets at significantly higher concentrations than previously recorded.

Pseudomonas is notorious, the cause of many hospital-acquired infections, its presence a harbinger of prolonged hospital stay and administration of strong IV antibiotics. To a young medical resident, it meant a longer patient list to do rounds on!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Dot org

On my blog's 14th year, I had a hard time renewing my domain name. My domain service provider—a Cebu-based company that used to give me nothing but excellent service—decided to go quiet when I mailed my billing statement. I was not alerted if the said company still exists to this day. I called the office number and sent countless emails to verify if my payment was received at all, but days have passed and I've been getting emails and messages from friends, worried that bottledbrain.com showed an error message when accessed—an impersonal white page instead of my carefully chosen fonts and my childish drawing of eyeglasses in the header. The news is that I am still alive and will keep on writing on my private little space in the web. I'm aware that this is the time when there are moves to veer away from social media, which used to be a democratic place where free exchange of ideas can happen but something that has evolved into a monstrosity, what with the political manipulation and censorship. While it has its uses (I've used Facebook to connect with high school classmates), it is considered by some people as tiresome, intrusive, and sometimes offensive—and there are moves now to go back to the good ol' blogs of the early 2000s. And to pen and paper diaries. I'm somewhere in the middle.

It's bottledbrain.org for now. It has a scholarly ring to it. An organization! I sound like I run an NGO. For the meantime, I hope the guys at my old domain name provider reply. I miss the dot com and will do everything to get it, even if it entails setting up the CNAMEs and other nitty-gritty details in the DNS all over again.

As always, thanks for reading.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kasalang Bayan

Spotted this along the PGH corridor. Funny that, of all places, the notice should be placed near the Department of Medicine, teeming with single people. (Also, congratulations to Danes Guevara who tops this years's Internal Medicine speciality board exam!)

Untitled

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Submit to necessary afflictions

April has ended, and we're now in May. How time flies. We begin the month with this Puritan prayer.

Let us take up his cross and follow him.
May the agency of thy grace prepare us
....for thy dispensations.
Make us willing that thou shouldest
...choose our inheritance and
...determine what we shall retain or lose,
....suffer or enjoy;
If blessed with prosperity may we be free
..from its snares,
..and use, not abuse, its advantages;
May we patiently and cheerfully submit
...to those afflictions which are necessary.
When we are tempted to wander,
..hedge up our way,
..excite in us abhorrence of sin,
..wean us from the present evil world,
Assure us that we shall at last enter
....Immanuel’s land
......where none is ever sick,
......and the sun will always shine.

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